444 Conversation Questions (Philemon, 08/01/21 MVA; 08/08/21 RVA) STARTER (as needed): Philemon and Onesimus are not everyday names. What is your given name? What have been some of your nicknames? SCRIPTURE: Philemon (ESV) 1 Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our beloved fellow worker 2 and Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier, and the church in your house: 3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 4
I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers,5 because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, 6 and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. 7 For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you. 8
Accordingly, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do what is required, 9 yet for love's sake I prefer to appeal to you—I, Paul, an old man and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus— 10 I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I became in my imprisonment. 11 (Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful to you and to me.) 12 I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart.13 I would have been glad to keep him with me, in order that he might serve me on your behalf during my imprisonment for the gospel, 14 but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own accord. 15 For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, 16 no longer as a bondservant but more than a bondservant, as a beloved brother—especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord. 17 So if you consider me your partner, receive him as you would receive me. 18 If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. 19 I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it—to say nothing of your owing me even your own self. 20 Yes, brother, I want some benefit from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in Christ. 21 Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say. 22 At the same time, prepare a guest room for me, for I am hoping that through your prayers I will be graciously given to you. 23
Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you, 24 and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers. 25 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
DISCUSSION: 1) Matt talked about the overwhelming nature of some problems which paralyzes us from helping anyone, leading to the recommendation: Do for one, what you wish you could do for everyone. For you, what is the problem that you wish you could solve for everyone? -
Is there a particular area where you are regularly generous or compassionate in “doing for one”?
2) Mark Twain said he could live for 2 months off a good compliment. In vv. 4-7 Paul tells Philemon of the good Paul sees in him. Who, if anyone, has done that for you, and with what result? For whom might you do that soon? 3) In vv. 13-14 Paul is trusting Philemon with Onesimus rather than keeping Onesimus with him. How risky was it to trust Philemon? -
With whom are you having trust issues? What would extending trust look like with that person? Can this group provide encouragement or accountability for you to take a next step?
4) In vv. 15-16 Paul highlights the goodness of Philemon and Onesimus being brothers in the Lord. Where have you been surprised or pleased by the strong connection you experienced with another believer, something you may not have had apart from Christ? 5) As you look at the descriptors below, do you find yourself more in the position of Paul, Onesimus or Philemon? - Paul: able to leverage your influence for the sake of another - Onesimus: called to return to a place or relationship to do some repair work - Philemon: having the opportunity to forgive or reconcile with somone who wronged you CLOSING PRAYER
Sermon discussion guide for Philemon preached at MVA on 8/1 and at RVA on 8/8